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Thursday, 16 February 2012

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Completing the nation-building project

There was a sensible input to the current public discussion on the 13th amendment, devolution and kindred matters, from Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene in the form of a comment recently that what is most important at present is to convince those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces that they too are citizens of this country and are entitled to live in it in peace and harmony with the rest of its citizenry. This is, indeed, a crucial task in contemporary Sri Lanka and it goes to the very heart of what is described as nation-building.

In fact, our problems had their roots in this impression among some in the North-East in particular, that they are aliens in the land of their birth. It is not the case that they had some sort of inborn tendency to favour separatist inclinations and connected ideologies.

It is simply that they were given the impression, regardless of whether this notion had a basis in fact or not, that they were not really wanted in this country. Therefore, the challenge before the state and the public of this country is to convince these persons with a feeling of being outsiders here, that they are very much needed in Sri Lanka and that they could live among the rest of the citizenry in harmony and with the ability to meet their every legitimate need.

Creating this feeling of togetherness is the essence of nation-building. We could not be said to be a nation if this feeling of community and unity is not present among every segment of our population.

Therefore, the challenge of nation-building is continuing to confront us and we could say that current issues at the heart of public debate and discussion, such as the 13th amendment and devolution, would not stubbornly persist if the nation-building process had been taken to its logical conclusion. Accordingly, creating this sense of togetherness and community is a principal challenge facing Sri Lanka. We could say that this is very important business from the past which is yet to be completed.

The state bears principal responsibility for seeing this process through. It has to establish the material and other conditions in this country that would enable every man, woman and child to identify with Sri Lanka very closely and consider this country and none other their home. However, it is not only the state that must shoulder this responsibility. It is a task for the entirety of our body-politic.

All right-thinking persons and groups should believe it incumbent on them to help the state in establishing on a firm foundation in this country, conditions that could lead to equality in all its dimensions. Nothing short of this could help in the all-important task of nation-building.

We need to stress the above because sections of the political Opposition are yet to come to a realization, seemingly, of the magnitude of the nation-building process.

Sections among the Opposition, for instance, have endeavoured to show that the content of the LLRC report is in tune with their thinking on the issues facing our communities, but they fail to realize that the LLRC report is essentially all about reconciliation and that if the Opposition ceases to play politics over the report and helps in the nation-building task it would be serving the cause of a united Sri Lanka.

As we see it, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is a sound mechanism for speeding-up the nation-building process, provided it works in accordance with a definite time frame and targets carefully thought out results that could help ease the grievances of our communities. We need a collaborative effort in the direction of reconciliation and unity.

Accordingly, parties such as the UNP and the TNA would only be serving destructive purposes by not co-operating with the government in its efforts to bring complete normalcy and social stability to this country.

Instead of taking Sri Lanka’s issues to the international community, sections of which have an axe or more to grind with Sri Lanka, they should consider as supreme the legitimate interests of this country.

They must get down to talking seriously on these issues with the state and shunt aside until our problems are resolved, any thought of acquiring short term political gain from them.

How the SLCSF contributes to development

Right throughout history we have seen how a well trained army along with the military genius of its commanders have won wars and created empires. The Roman Empire expanded because of the efficiency of its legions and the brilliance of its Generals. The well known French General Napoleon Bonaparte achieved great success due to his Grande Armée. The Sri Lankan Civil Security Force rendered an invaluable service to the country as an auxiliary force serving alongside the Three Forces and the Special Task Force. An outfit specially trained to protect the villages from the terrorist threat, they were the pride of the military and the country. They served with honour and dedication. Their commitment to their motherland and the villages they were assigned to protect was foremost on their minds. They did not falter in their duty.

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A new capital

In antiquity, it was not unknown for emperors to build new capital cities to reinforce their rule and to break with the past. Herodotus records that ‘Deioces’ (Daiukku), the monarch who united the Medes of what is now Iran, constructed a seven-walled capital at ‘Ecbatana’ (Hangmatana - ‘meeting place’, modern Hamadan). The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaton erected the city of Akhetaton (modern el Amarna) at some distance from the then capital, Thebes, to enhance his own power and his belief in Aton, and to challenge the dominance of the priests of the polytheistic religion.

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Challenges posed by the international community

Why did Hillary Clinton send such a letter to us? It says that a proposal will be brought against us in the UN Human Rights Council and that it will be brought by America. This is serious interference in our internal affairs and a blow to our independent status.

Full Story

Free Education proposals and tuition - Part V

The NEC survey has collected information about teachers conducing tuition classes. Different categories of teachers take these classes ranging from qualified retired teachers, other experienced teachers, subject teachers in schools themselves, professional tuition masters outside the school system and so on.

Full Story

 

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